I just want to be Mommy.

“So, Ms Hounsel, let’s discuss what we are going to do for Evan.”

Our specialist for Evan’s gut rattled off our plan.  I agreed to some and disagreed with others.

We came to a happy medium of what was next for Evan in regards to his stomach issues and his lack of weight gain.

I asked more questions about the drugs – interactions, side effects – efficacy.  The normal stuff.

After an hour long visit, his doctor looks at me and confidently says, “Ok. I think we have a good plan.  Let’s see how things go this month and follow up with us in August.  I trust if anything happens you will call me.  Evan has a doctor by him 24 hours a day!”

He chuckled as he said the last part.

The blank look on my face prompted him to add, “You. You are the doctor!”  And he laughed again.

My stomach sank and I battled back tears.

I smiled in hopes that I masked the sadness on my face and the one thought that popped into my mind, 

“Mommy.  I just want to be mommy.”

Having a child that is medically complex is exhausting.

It drains me in ways I didn’t realize.

I have been forced to learn things I never wanted to learn about: heart defects, stomach and intestinal defects, drug interactions, hospital policies…the list can go on and on.

I have become doctor, nurse, therapist, pharmacist, advocate, medical billing manger, accountant…all for the sake of my son.

And, I joyfully take on the role. Because joy is something that is deeper than happiness…it’s an almost transcendent feeling.

Because sometimes….I need something deeper to explain the elation I get in knowing that I am all these because my son is still alive.  The alternative to not being these things in the complex medical condition world means I am no longer all those things because I no longer have to be.

But, there are many moments in my day where I just want to be mommy.

Where I want to feed my child a meal and not have to count calories.

Where I give him a bath and not inspect every scar for infection.

Where I giggle and laugh and rough house with my toddler terror and have to stop and make sure his lips aren’t turning blue.

Where I take him to parks and playgrounds and not have to wipe down swings and slides and hand rails because he is immune compromised.

Where I can plan a date night for my husband and I and just call my sitter and not have to make sure she feels comfortable with feeding tubes, his medication, his tendency to vomit at a moment’s notice.

Where I hold my child and just love on him instead of going to his hands and feet and seeing if they are cold….wondering if his circulation is ok.

Where my daughter’s nightly prayers are innocent instead of worrisome, “God…please heal my brother’s throat so he can eat again like a normal kid.  Please keep his heart strong so that he doesn’t have to go back to the hospital.”


I just want to be mommy and forget that I have these hats that I have to wear.

It’s hardened my heart and jaded me as a person.

I have to stop myself mid eye roll when I hear or read about other people and their “simple” problems – ear infections, fevers, teething, minor surgery.

I stop myself because once upon a time I was “just” mommy.

And those things that are devastating to parents – the things that are trivial to me now – are hard on those who don’t have to wear the hats I have to wear.

I’ve become jaded and hard because I have to be.  My role as “mommy” shifted into protector when I found out about Evan.

For whatever reason, I was given this child that requires me to be more.

I’m required to be more than just the kisser of boo boos…I have to find ways to stop them.

I have to be able to step back and admit that “Mommy can’t make it all better.”

Because, I’m not just that.

I have to be more.

But sometimes…

I just want to be Mommy.



  1. Rebecca Scott says:

    You hit the nail on the head!!!!!!

  2. Heather Norris says:

    While I didn’t have the problems with any of my babies having to take medications.
    I do remember getting pregnant at 16 & telling my family, I just want to be a mommy
    when questions were asked what I wanted to be when I grew-up. My answer
    was always the same. I just wanna be a Mommy. I thank God everyday that I was
    Blessed enough to be a mommy to children. Even if I started young. I just
    wanted to be a mommy. I know I’ve made many mistakes but I always have l always
    have loved my children with all my heart. And that will never change!! Thank you
    God for the many blessings you’ve given to me but most of all for my children!!

  3. I loved your blog. I have two little ones that we adopted with multiple special needs. I know how you feel. I live your life 24/7! Thanks for sharing!!

  4. Fantastic article, I can totally relate!!

  5. You say it all so perfectly. Sometimes it would be nice to just sit back and be the mommy. But yeah, like you, if the day comes where I don’t have to be on top of all of it, it will be because he’s returned home to God. So in the meantime, I just pray it’s a long ways off, and enjoy every single smile and laugh I get from him.

  6. Thank you for so beautifully expressing our day and and day out.

  7. ZoeAnn Yussman says:

    Amen! Thank you for so eloquently stating what so many of us feel
    on a daily basis.

  8. kristin says:

    You’re speaking to so many! me included, thank you 🙂

  9. Kristi Wright says:

    Wow. That felt exactly like what I feel, I just could never put into words like that. Thank you so much for writing this. Amazing job.

  10. Amen!

  11. You’ve summed up so much of how I feel at times too. I’m fortunate in that my son’s medical issues are resolving, and the focus has now switched to developmental issues (which unsurprisingly are partly as a result of the medical issues, *sigh*). Every so often I wonder what it’d be like if I’d had a “normal” pregnancy, with a “normal” birth and a “normal” baby.

    Then I realise I have absolutely no idea what normal is anyway.

    Good luck and best wishes.

  12. Just saw you from a share on Facebook. Beautiful family and attitude. Life throws us things we never thought we could handle. My daughter had heart surgery in January for 3 heart defects (only 1 of many problems). My other daughter has a little boy in her preschool class with heterotaxy. I know you can’t compare across the board, but he is such a tough little guy, doing so well. Stay strong. I just remind myself that I’m doing exactly what my Heavenly Father wants me to do. He sent these little ones to me for a reason, and while my role of mother looks so much different than those around me, I feel get to experience things on a much deeper level. When my last child was born, I told my husband that I felt bad because I was basically mourning the loss of things in this life (food, vacations, flexibility, a future family and job for my baby, grandkids, etc.). I just have to keep the big eternal picture in mind and enjoy what we’ve been given.

  13. Don'l McEwen says:

    Every word is so true…..I do just wanna be mommy! I hate all the hats but ever so grateful to still have my daughter here 6 years later. I will wear my hats because she needs me too! As long as she needs me…I will always be at her side! Beautifully wrote mommy! 🙂

  14. 22q mom says:

    Oh how you nailed it on the head.

  15. May God watch over your family and bless you all.
    You are an amazing woman, your family is so very blessed to have you as “Mommy”.
    Prayers for your son’s health and recovery.

  16. Wow…you’ve hit every point. You know what’s devastating, even though you are a doctor, nurse, pharmacist, advocate, etc…after all the blood, sweat and tears…My daughter passed away. Now I’m just mommy to her little brother. It feels as though I’ve lost my identity…now I’m just mommy..I’m grateful to God that I’m just mommy, but all the hard work I put inti getting my daughter better and this is the result. God forgive my complaining, but I want my rombutious daughter back…again God please forgive me.

  17. Connie Cruz says:

    Beautifully written. I do completely understand, we had to tell our daughter that the pediatrician was missing something. That following a minor surgery a 4 month old should bounce back not begin to atrophy. She was so angry with us. I am not sure she has really gotten past it. I am sure that as a 19 yr old we completely devastated her. It had to be done. He has congenital CMV- now WE know what that is! Many blessings for your family.

  18. Carola Gabriela Pellicer Ascanio says:

    My love, admiration and respect for you… I also have a baby girl (she will be three years soon) with health problems… Blessings and love for you and your baby boy…